PA University Ejects Leftist Journalist for Being Jewish
A Haaretz reporter was ejected from a pro-Palestinian conference at Birzeit University on Saturday, reporter Amira Hass said - simply for being an Israeli Jew.
Hass attempted to attend the "Alternatives to Neo-Liberal Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – Critical Perspectives" conference at the university, which is located near Ramallah where she lives.
But she was ejected from the hall by the organizers, Hass claimed, after students at the admission desk noted she worked for the Israeli publication and alerted security authorities to intervene.
Birzeit University has had a policy of barring Israeli Jews from the campus for over 20 years, administrators said, and ejected her for fear that she would be attacked by an unruly mob of students.
Hass was not assaulted by Palestinian Arab students at the conference, she noted, but rumors did surface shortly afterwards of such a confrontation.
Her colleagues and professors told her that she was being ejected on the one hand "for her own protection" and also to give the students "a safe space" free of Jews.
Meanwhile, the University has officially denied that there was a problem.
"The administration has no objection to the presence of the journalist [Amira] Hass," it insisted, in an official statement. "The University distinguishes between friends of the Palestinian people and its enemies ... and works with every person and institution who opposes the occupation."
But Hass - who is well-known in Arab and leftist circles for her aggressive anti-Zionism, and provoked outrage last year for justifying rock-throwing attacks against Jews - angrily noted that she was "not told" about the policy and that "Palestinian citizens of Israel [i.e. Israeli Arabs - ed.] who teach at Israeli universities are not subject to the same policy."
Even the conference's organizers were offended, Hass added, noting that keynote speaker Katja Herrmann - the regional head of the pro-Palestinian NGO the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation - stated after the incident that she would not have agreed to attend the event had she known about the discrimination policy.
The incident surfaces amid growing tension between parts of the Israeli Left and the Palestinian Authority. Several left-wing parties, including Labor and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's HaTnua party, openly supported Israel's self-defense operation in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge. More recently, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's anti-Israel tirade at the UN General Assembly offended even Meretz Chairman Zehava Gal-On, who branded the remarks as "serious and grave."